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Healthy Resolutions

More than half of us make New Year’s resolutions but less than 1 in 5 of our resolutions holds the test of time.  I am not telling you to make resolutions.  You are Next Level perfect already.  But if you want to take care of your greatest asset (back to you again), may I suggest a few healthy habits that are up for adoption. 

1. Pass it Forward

Compliment more.  Everyone likes to feel valued and appreciated.  Humans tend to be quick to find fault or criticize but slow on the draw to express appreciation. A well-timed expression of gratitude or admiration can really make someone’s day.  Find something you like in someone and let them know. Both verbal and non-verbal expressions count.  Be creative but don’t over do it. Raise your game and be quick to the trigger on a smile or a small gesture of appreciation. The light you cast on others usually reflects right back on you so make it shine.   

2. Get some outdoor activity

People, we live in Florida, the Sunshine State. It’s free, it’s relaxing and damn sure beats all types of UV: Fluorescent, LED, OLED or QLED radiation.   In an effort to go green let’s go solar but don’t forget the wind and hydropower of our rivers, lakes, pools, springs and beaches.  Sleep, mood and sense of well-being will all improve. Vitamin D? Check.  Add a little heart pumping activity and you check the fitness and self-esteem boxes.  It’s all better outdoors.  Just show the dermatologist a little love and don’t forget the SPF.

3. Enjoy Eggs More

It really doesn’t get much better than the egg. Sorry men – egg rules.  Eggs have the highest quality protein and are a vitamin B powerhouse, packed with iron and potassium for the circulation, retinoids for the eyes and choline for the brain.  Low in saturated fat and only a splash of sugar.  Power up or power down – breakfast, lunch or dinner – it’s all good.  So what’s not to love? It’s too high in cholesterol? So we are all cardiologists now? Fuggedaboutit!  Eating 1-2 eggs a day may lower your cardiovascular risk, not increase it. Just hold the bacon please.

4. Get Restorative Sleep

7-9 hours, that’s the sweet spot. During sleep the immune system gets fortified, the body repairs and the brain detoxifies.  It helps in processing memory and strengthens cognition.  Sleep deprivation impairs our mental function a lot more than our physical function!  Alertness, focus, clarity and higher level brain function suffer. Routine is key for a quality sleep habit. Begin the routine 30-60 minutes before bed at about the same time each night.  Shut off screens and do something relaxing for both the mind and body. You want a comfortable bed in an uncluttered, quiet, dark and cool space. Temp 70-65 degrees is ideal since the body temperature cools in early sleep to transition to deep restorative sleep. No sweat required. Repeat your sleep routine night after night after night. Now we’re snoozing!

5. Embrace Challenges

A life is defined by the challenges not the failures.  It is the effort we put forth to overcome those challenges that makes it meaningful. Life is full of hardships, and failure usually lines the path to ultimate success.  Most people looking back at the past don’t regret the failures in their lives but the challenges they declined to embrace.  Fear of failure should never stand in the way of your becoming successful at something.  And if you do fail, dust it off, learn from it, and aim higher. 

6. Learn Something

There is no better way to exercise your brain than to learn a new skill.  Make it a point in 2022 to learn one.  Possibly take up a new language, play an instrument, A DIY project you may not have attempted, learn a job skill like coding or app development, or immerse yourself in a new hobby.  Superagers who continue to function at a high cognitive level when they are old have constantly challenged themselves to learn. Expand your horizon!

7. Single Task

Multitasking is a myth. The human brain is capable of only one high level function at a time. So “multitasking” is really quickly switching attention from one function to another.  So “multitasking” is really “switch-tasking”. However, your focus suffers from the distraction of switching from one task to another rapidly.  So stay focused!  Leave the distractions for the multitaskers.  Your efficiency, productivity and stress level will all benefit from single tasking.  (Note:  Autonomous functions like breathing, pumping blood and movement are low level functions and can be done with high level functions.  So feel free to walk and talk at the same time but listening and talking? Fuggedaboutit.)

8. Disconnect

Noise.  It’s a problem.  There is way too much useless info that we cling to and feel we can’t miss. The world was a lot happier before social media.  Why? It was quieter. The 80/20 rule applies.  About 20% of the info leads to at least 80% of the enrichment in our lives.  The other 80% mostly just gets in the way of a calmer world.  Filter out as much of that 80% as you can and focus on the 20% that is meaningful and spend a little more time with the people or the things that bring you the most joy.  Enrich your life but shhh… please, keep it quiet!

9. Say No but No Excuse

There are only so many hours in the day and so many days in our lives.  Make them count.  If it is not a priority, does not add meaning or is not enjoyable then by all means just say no.  It is the key factor in handling stress – AVOID it.  But please no excuses. It changes nothing.  Whomever you say no to does not require one and they don’t really want one.  An excuse is actually your attempt to relieve your own mental conflict about saying no – not theirs (yep – that cognitive dissonance thing again). No dissonance needed – it is okay to say no!  It is not like you volunteered to do something. No explaining, but remember no complaining if there are consequences to pay.

10. Take Stock

We worry too much about what we don’t have or what we feel we are missing.  Instead we need to be grateful more for what we do have and the people that enrich our lives.  At the end of the day before you fall asleep take a moment to be grateful for something in your life.  With a little more gratitude for what you got, you may find the day to day hassles are a little less of a struggle, life feels a little more fulfilling, and yin and ying flow a little better for you.  You might even sleep better and that’s not a bad thing!

Final Prediction:  A Prosperous, Safe and Healthy 2022!  Let’s make it Next Level Good!

Dr. B